Published October 6th, 2013
In this second of the Locked Within trilogy, hope has returned to New York City. Nathan Shepherd leads a small band of dedicated fighters against the Council of Chains and the city's supernatural masters. But it's not enough. Because from the shadows of Nathan's former lives comes an old enemy, one who knows terrible secrets that Nathan has not yet remembered, secrets that could undo everything he has fought for.
Nathan's only chance to uncover the memories of his previous existence, and to conquer these new forces of evil, lies in Elena DeSantis. A woman he has fought beside in past lifetimes. A woman he has loved.
Together, Nathan and Elena are the only future their city has.
Modern times, ancient weapons. What is the sword’s significance?
Swords have a special place in myth and legend. They’re the weapons of heroes and symbols of authority. I love that the urban fantasy genre lets me blend the old and the new, so focusing on older forms of combat was something I wanted from the start. To that end, giving Nathan Shepherd a sword felt natural.
In the case of Nathan’s sword, he received it from Libby, the leader of the Lost, in Locked Within, the first book of the trilogy. It had belonged to him in past lives and Libby kept it for safe-keeping. It was forged by Nathan himself, in another life, and the stylized phoenix on the hilt is symbolic of his reborn nature. He dies, time and again, but just like the sword was forged and made strong from its previous form of blank metal, so too is Nathan made stronger as he overcomes the challenges in his way.
I saw that you listened specific music for specific scenes (I loved some of them). Did you have also some visual inspiration?
Thanks, I’m glad you liked the soundtracks I posted.
I have a very visual imagination. When I write, I picture the scene, like I’m watching a movie in my head, and try to describe what’s going on. I wouldn’t say I had any specific visual inspirations for Silent Oath, except perhaps the city of New York itself, which never fails to inspire me whenever I’m there.
Is everything black and white in Silent Oath (or Locked Within), or are there also some shades of grey (human VS supernatural)?
My books tend to feature quite clear heroes and villains. That is to say, there are characters I hope readers will root for, and characters I hope they’ll root against. But my heroes aren’t all clean-cut, and my villains aren’t pure evil (well, maybe Morrigan is, but she’s an ancient goddess of blood and war, so she gets a pass there).
Lord Dorian, for example, like many members of the Council of Chains, does what he does out of a fear of dying. He is terrified that death means the end of his essential being, and works to avoid it at all costs. His hatred of Nathan stems from the belief that, at the end of Locked Within, Nathan doomed the soul of his lost lover to oblivion.
Nathan, while striving to do the right thing and protect people, has made mistakes. His obsession with investigating the supernatural has cost him friends. And in Silent Oath, he will learn that his past selves have had a much darker side than he realised.
As for humans versus the supernatural, this is something I wanted to be quite clear on, that humans are not all good and the supernatural is not all bad. They’re both just people, and people can be kind or cruel, gentle or rough, selfless or greedy. In Silent Oath, we see more of New York’s supernatural society, and how Nathan’s actions have affected them all.
Absolutely. In fact, this is a core part of Silent Oath, as Nathan meets Elena DeSantis, the reincarnation of a lost lover from his previous incarnations. Many reborn don’t try to keep romantic relationships going across lifetimes. It can be difficult to deal with jealousy and guilt if you find a past lover, and you or they have had other lovers already in this lifetime. But Nathan and Elena have a very long history, and they must decide if that is worth fighting for, in the face of all that happens.
How important are the short stories for the series?
They’re not essential; they just offer a bit of extra insight into the characters. At the moment there is only Taking Sides: Cynthia, set between Locked Within and Silent Oath, which describes Cynthia Keller’s decision to help Nathan fight the Council of Chains. I wrote Silent Oath before the short story, so while I would encourage everyone to read Taking Sides: Cynthia, you won’t miss out if you decide to skip it.
Thank you, Mr. Shortt
Thank you for having me!
About the author:
A child at heart who turned to writing and roleplaying games when there simply weren't enough action figures to play out the stories he wanted, Paul Anthony Shortt has been writing all his life. Growing up surrounded by music, film and theatre gave him a deep love of all forms of storytelling, each teaching him something new he could use. When not playing with the people in his head, he enjoys cooking and regular meet-ups with his gaming group.
Paul lives in Ireland with his wife Jen and their dogs, Pepper and Jasper. Their first child, Conor William Henry Shortt, was born on July 11th, 2011. He passed away three days later, but brought love and joy into their lives and those of their friends. The following year, Jen gave birth to twins, Amy and Erica.
Paul's first novel, Locked Within, was released on November 6th, 2012, by WiDo Publishing. Silent Oath is the second book in this urban fantasy trilogy.